Sunday, 20 March 2016

But not the blind leading the blind

Wine Tasting and wine knowledge, the the common bonds and appreciations that we, as members of the Freeland Wine Club share.  It was a combination of these that was the main event at the meeting last night in our village hall.

We are lucky having a truly independent wine merchant on our doorstep.   The next village to us here in the centre of Oxfordshire is the village of Eynsham and the wine merchant is The Eynsham Cellars.    For our meeting we were very lucky to have as our speaker for the evening one of the proprietors of the business, Oli Gauntlett, he was assisted by Gervase Wood.

Oli and Gervase presented the first wine which I think most of us would have little difficulty in recognising as a Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc.   The aim of the evening was to allow us to develop more wane tasting skills. This was the first wine, this was one wine most of us could recognise fairly readily, massive fruit overtones with acidity and the colour of one of the countries favourite tipples, New Zealand Savvy Blanc.  This was just a taster, to get know the methods we needed to use to even attempt to identify wine and to place them, all further wines would be served 'blind'. We then needed to clarify  provenance, grape type, complexity, tannin levels, acidity and so on.

So yes an evening of tasting but also one of learning and the cultivation of taste and tasting technique.

For this we need to give a very big thank you to Oli, he had the difficult task helping us proceed on this journey of discovery as well as guiding through the wines,  Thanks Oli.

So the wines: 

The first wine of the evening was the welcome wine, and this was a fine Rosé, the Bergerac Wines are known to some members as being easy on the pallet and on the wallet, a very under rated area of France from the British buyers perspective and for many this Rosé proved the point that Rosé can be a fine wine with both taste and structure.

And on to the tastings. As I mentioned the first wine, and an intro to what was to follow was the highly characteristic NZ Savvy Blanc, the Esk Valley. It seems that this is one of the stores big sellers. Massive citrus tones over acidity, this SB just a million miles from the French offering with the same grape. If nothing else this wide variation is enough to silence those who mock the French and their use of the term "terroir'.  £9.99

Then on to the slightly oaked Chardonnay, but of course we had to identify this from our own testing and analytical ability.  This, surprisingly, was not that easy, in fact most found it very tough.  Amazing when you don't know what is in the bottle that you cannot tell what it is, white wine yes but on from that, Chardonnay? Oaked? New World? Voignier? Endless qestions and not that obvious answers. So a great start to us all climbing our individual learning curves.  £8.19

The third white a Gerwirztraminer, didi anyone identify this very popular grape variety, did anyone realise that this was not German or an Alsace wine but actually came from Chile, a resounding no was the answer. All the whites were well received, all seemed to go very well with the cheeses, a mix of types and cow, sheep and goat, but more of the cheese info below. £8.48

As a break in the proceedings Oli arranged for a short quiz, trivia questions which failed to give a winner, just too many correct answers, so many in fact that the quizmaster ran out of questions and had to devise a question to stump us and hopefully highlight a brain of brains.  

Then on to the Reds.

A great selection, 

I think a lot were able get this wine nailed, not due to its taste, which we should have picked up upon but more by its colour, or lack of.  Always a favourite with many members and a fine wine, very typical of the grape.  The Wild Earth Vineyards Pinot Noir and another NZ wine, Central Otago Valley. £21.99 

There was the Shiraz grape, well we all know that Shiraz tends to be on the peppery side of taste spectrum so how come that one was not like that at all but just a fine wine without this signature take that some love.   I notice the Australian wine maker describes this as brooding shiraz, I cannot argue with that.£12.99

The final wine, surely everyone would get this wine, but no, the blind tasting expertise was not yet a level that allowed many to identify that this wine was a Rioja.   A very fine Rioja as well. £13.99


Once again the man I am going to call The Cheese Man of Witney, Witney Market, supplied us with the range to cheeses. If you have chance on a Thursday morning it may be worth your time to look him up and see what he has on offer. Always able to give a full background on the cheeses, he also has some great olives. Well worth the trip for those alone. 

And the cheeses were:

Rollright, Oxford Blue, Jowett, Sarsden,Ruby and Brinkburn. 

At the next meeting will be on the evening of MAY 27th, Martin Marais will be presenting and the subject, The Label on the Bottle.

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